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© Lupi Spuma

 

An International Theatre Project of the National Theatre of Greece, Teatro Garibaldi, Habima National Theatre of Israel, National Theatre of Prague, Hungarian Theatre of Cluj and Schauspielhaus Graz

Europe as an “emergency entrance“ represents the topic of this co-operation between the national theatres in Prague, Athens and Tel Aviv, as well as the municipal theatres in Palermo, Cluj and Graz. Teams of artists – theatre and movie directors, professional and laymen actors, musicians and video artists – spent several months researching current questions on migration in their respective countries. They worked together with refugees, representatives of ethnic minorities, young and old, male and female “sans papiers” from Eastern Europe and Africa. The rules of documentary theatre agreed on stated that research was to be part of the rehearsal process and was to be focused on current human tragedies. It aims to be an investigation of an unknown present. It should examine its limitations – but also process its utopian leaps.
 
Six plays, entirely different in their aesthetics and contents, were thus created: experimental, funny, highly emotional, grotesque or tranquil. All of them show personal witness of truth, and young artists from Fortress Europe and Israel position themselves as citizens of their respective cities, their countries or their communities of states.
 
This was the first step. It generated the following plays: Invisible Olga (National Theatre of Greece, Athens), My Neighbour, My Enemy (National Theatre of Czech Republic, Prague), The Promised Land (Habima National Theatre of Israel, Tel Aviv), Who’s afraid of a maidservant? (Teatro Garibaldi di Palermo), DRACULATOURThe Brand Stroker Project (Hungarian Theatre of Cluj) and Boat People (Schauspielhaus Graz).
 
In the second step, two or three groups respectively met in multi-day workshops in Cluj, Prague and Graz. They gathered their research outcome, discussed their results, but first and foremost, they chose material for their joint improvisations. They found new connections, played with linguistic confusion, various theatrical styles and national clichés. These exciting encounters – now for the second time on a transnational level – opened up to a radically new perspective: Go to the Unexpected! New scenes were developed in the course of a few days, which are entitled Next Level #1, #2, #3 and will now be presented at the festival.
© Mela Dell'Erba
© Vassilis Klotsotiras
© Jiří N. Jelínek
 

What do Romanian immigrant workers in Italy, Russian women forced into prostitution in Athens, refugees on Lampedusa, Israeli soldiers in Gaza and Roma in Prague have in common? Their lives are defined by borderlines. These are historical or current, ethnic, cultural, militant or economical borders. They are visible or invisible, but always real. The focus of this project - which was initiated by the Schauspielhaus Graz in 2009, and can now, thanks to subsidies of the European Union, finally be realised – lies on stories of people on both sides of these borders. Shay Pitowsky, director of the Young Habima Company, processed in The Promised Land his traumatic experience as an Israeli soldier on both “walls” of his country – the wall in Gaza and in Egypt. Christine Eder and the Schauspielhaus Graz company focused on modern odysseys on our Mediterranean coasts in Boat People. The National Theatre of Prague has started a theatrical research on the conflict between Roma and Czechs (My Neighbour, My Enemy), the National Theatre of Greece wonders about the invisible Russian immigrants in Athens, who end up as prostitutes on their pursuit of a better life (Invisible Olga), the Teatro Garibaldi di Palermo is working on a grand video-poem (Who's afraid of a maidservant?) about the living conditions of Romanian female immigrant workers in Italy. And The Hungarian Theatre of Cluj offers a new perspective on the well-known character Dracula in DRACULATOUR which deals with the defencelessness of undesirable illegals in a corrupt society.

These plays will be connected in the course of the season 2011/12: The Hungarians and Sicilians will meet Athenians in workshops, Prague will host Graz and Graz will host Tel Aviv. New plays will develop from the material of the previous ones. The aim is to achieve a radical change of perspective on well-known phenomena and the theatre is the place for encounters which would otherwise, geographically speaking, be less possible. This major project will celebrate its debut performance at the end of January 2012 in the EMERGENCY ENTRANCE-Festival in Graz; accompanied by an international symposium.


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